25-year-old Sevak Darbinyan is a construction engineer. He got higher education at the Yerevan State University of Architecture and Construction. However, because he couldn’t find a job in his professional sphere, he currently works as a firefighter at the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
According to the “Aspirations and expectations of Youth of RA” report of 2013 in Armenia, only around 35 % of youth work by his profession. The experts, who prepared the report, say, that the connection between education and labour market must be strengthened. Otherwise it turns out that Armenian higher educational institutions prepare professionals who are potentially jobless after graduation. The youth finds a job by profession with difficulty, so very often they have to work in other spheres.
While choosing a profession, Sevak was sure, that there is always a demand for construction. After the graduation the young professional understood that first it was hard to find job and second, there was demand for his profession only during the summertime. Sevak studied for 4 years. The tuition fee for each year was 450 000 (around $930). He studied for free only one year, for the other three years he collectively had to pay 1350 000 drams (around $3000). After graduation he found only temporary jobs. During all his professional career he earned 600 000 drams (around $1300), almost twice as less, than he had paid for education.
“I studied at the agricultural college of Armavir city, in the beginning as a farmer, then as a winemaker”-tells fire-fighter Avis Khudatyan. He got his higher education while working at the Ministry of Emergency Situations and paid only a part of the tuition fee.
“There are a lot of advantages, we get a fixed monthly salary. I have social insurance as a state worker. With the help of that I have solved financial problems related to the urgent surgery, that my father needed. Also I will need the diploma of higher education if I want to get officer’s rank” – he says. The salary of fire-fighters reaches between 90000-95000 drams (200-250$) (the minimum wage in Armenia is $115). They work only seven or eight days during a month. According to them, this is very convenient, as they have a chance to combine it with other jobs.
23-year old Tatev Mehrabyan is a school psychologist, she couldn’t find a job by her profession either. She learned that in order to find a job at school, she has to pay bribes to the director. Tatev is giving private lessons to the pupils. She teaches English. Her monthly income reaches 60 000 drams (around $115). She is disappointed from her profession, because she couldn’t find a job. Tatev has spent around 1 mln 350 drams ($2700) for her education.
“Psychologists are needed, especially in schools, but no one understands the necessity of having them, neither the parents nor the teachers. A lot of people even mix up psychology with psychiatry”, says Tatev. According to her, many of her course mates had to spend additional money on different trainings in order to get a job at least in a cohesive sphere.
Environmentalist Narek Harutyunyan thinks that he has one diploma but different professions. He hasn’t worked in that sphere even for a day. Now he is as a locksmith in the natural gas providing services. His schedule is flexible so he is trying to combine it with other jobs. He was employed without any bribes and relatives help.
The director of Youth Studies Institute Marina Galstyan says, that usually young people choose professions about which they have no idea and they don’t know whether it is demanded or not.
“Of course, we don’t say it, that graduates and applicants should do the research of the labor market, but they even don’t have an approximate notion, for example where they can work if they choose the profession of a lawyer. Medicine, economics, jurisprudence; these spheres are quite stagnant, because there is no demand for this professions. We have a lot of graduates but not enough job places. There is no balance between the current labour market and education,” she highlighted.